Design and Place Management
New Initiative! Oakland Open Space Pilots
In partnership with the Pittsburgh Innovation District, OBID launched a series of public and open space activation strategies to enhance the look and vibrancy of our business district. OBID and PGH ID have retained local landscape architecture firm Merritt Chase to design a series of pilots, such asnew festival style lighting along Oakland Avenue and sidewalk cafe spaces, sidewalk furniture and open space furnishings at various locations in the retail area. these pilot projects are anticipated for 15-24 month installations to test the public response. Look out for more in the future! The design services are generously funded by Pittsburgh Innovation District.
The creative Oakland Avenue Lighting Pilot was installed in winter, 2019. With generous support from UPMC, the Pittsburgh Innovation District, the Hillman Foundation, and the Heinz Endowments, this new installation has dramatically enlivened one of Oakland’s most important business corridors. The Oakland Avenue Lighting Pilot is the first of a series of pilot projects planned for the Central Oakland business district through a partnership between OBID and the Pittsburgh Innovation District.
Pedestrian Wayfinding Project Awarded $1.5 Million for Construction
OBID and partners continue to push forward Pittsburgh’s first Pedestrian Wayfinding Signage System for Oakland, Downtown, the North Side and the North Shore. To date, over $475,000 was raised for the design services of the project. We are also excited to announce that $1.5 Million has been awarded for project construction. This system will aid the large visitor population in Oakland, and will join the ranks of Tokyo, New York, Toronto, Abu Dhabi, and London, who have also built extensive pedestrian wayfinding signage programs. OBID is proud to work with our professional team from ARUP, INC.
Cleaning & Beautification
Block By Block
The OBID contracts Block By Block, a nationally recognized maintenance contractor, to provide sidewalk cleaning services for the District. A crew of ambassadors works seven days per week to ensure that the commercial corridor – over 4 miles of sidewalks – remains free of litter and debris. We remove more than 5 tons of trash, 220,000 cigarette butts, and over 2,000 pizza boxes annually!
Of course, litter removal is just the first step in creating an attractive streetscape. Our crew also removes weeds, graffiti, illegal flyers, stickers and staples from our infrastructure. During the fall season, the crew also ensures that the leaf buildup is removed along with the typical litter and debris, and in the winter, we keep the ADA ramps clear of snow and ice. The crew also uses a hot-water pressure washer to remove gum, grease, dirt and grime from all of our district’s sidewalks–on average over 70 storefronts (of which 40% get repeat washing).
To further enhance our pedestrian corridor, the OBID contracts Sestili Nursery, a local Oakland business establishment, to plant and maintain flower baskets and sidewalk planters through spring, summer and fall annually, decorating four blocks of the Forbes Avenue commercial corridor.
The OBID partners with various local law enforcement agencies to keep our district safe and to ensure our membership stays aware of any safety and security related concerns. We are especially honored to work with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and the University of Pittsburgh Police who keeps a watchful eye on the everyday life in Oakland.
The OBID staff and cleaning ambassadors are also constantly vigilant for any issues in the district which may cause a pedestrian safety hazard and works with member businesses, property owners and appropriate municipal agencies to resolve any relevant concerns.
Graffiti Abatement – Buildings
To combat graffiti, OBID encourages all members to report any vandalism on your property to 911. The OBID also encourages members to report vandalism to the City of Pittsburgh Mayor’s Service Center by dialing 311 or visiting http://pittsburghpa.gov/innovation-performance/311.html. The 311 response line is able to provide removal services in appropriate situations free of charge. In the event that the City of Pittsburgh is unable to remove the graffiti, the property owner may be notified that removal by other means may be necessary.
Business Recruitment and Development
OBID’s Business Recruitment and Development services are designed to strengthen the competitive edge of our commercial district. We assist our members to increase retail diversity and to reduce storefront vacancies. OBID provides education, outreach and coordination of information and activities that work to build critical relationships between retail tenants and property owners.
Reaching an audience of more than 6,000 local and regional stakeholders through our digital communications, the OBID promotes available commercial spaces, promote grant and funding incentives and connect prospective tenants to our property owners.
- Commercial Property Listings: provided as a direct service to OBID property owners to help get the word out about available space in Oakland. All information is accessible by the public at onlyinoakland.org/listings. If you would like to add to this listing, please contact [email protected].
- Retail Market Study: In an effort to assist our member property owners to recruit targeted retailers to the district, the OBID brought on the services of GAI Consultants, Inc. to develop Central Oakland’s first Retail Market Study. We also welcome you to view the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Oakland Market Profile for a snapshot and overall insight of Oakland’s Fifth Avenue and Forbes Avenue corridor and central business district.
Promotion & Marketing
OBID is committed to marketing Oakland as a whole community that offers multiple experiences. Creating a “buzz” for Oakland has brought positive attention to the community while enhancing the image of Oakland as a great place to live, to work, to hang out in and to locate your business. The Only In Oakland campaign features a comprehensive website highlighting Oakland shops and restaurants, attractions, cultural amenities and more. With more than 100,000 people in Oakland daily, there are many audiences including students, employees, residents and visitors, and OBID has designed a variety of events and initiatives aimed at raising awareness of businesses in the district and at increasing foot traffic into the businesses. On average, OBID organizes 10-15 annual events, including:
- Forbes Digital Plaza Art & Entertainment
- Weekly band performances for OBID’s “Sound Revealed” series
- Annual Events
- NEW: Booths on Bouquet Vendor Series
- Oakland Ramp Crawl
- Oakland Restaurant Week
- Drink for Pink Fundraising event
- University Freshman Fairs
- Shop Small Shop Oakland campaign in conjunction with Small Business Saturday
OBID has also developed a variety of cross-marketing initiatives working in partnership with various local and regional organizations, including Oakland’s universities, hospitals, and cultural amenities.
The OBID works to keep all of our members up-to-date on what is happening in our neighborhood, opportunities to engage with the organization and ways to improve their businesses. Each month the OBID sends out an e-newsletter to over 6,000 people with a plethora of relevant and timely information about our membership, available promotional opportunities, commercial real estate listings and much more. Social media plays a key role in marketing OBID’s marketing endeavors, posting to Facebook and Twitter regularly. We want to stay in touch with you! If you would like to hear more from us, please contact OBID’s Marketing/Communications Coordinator, David Pirozzi, at [email protected].
As the voice for the Oakland business community, the OBID staff and Board are dedicated to the advocacy of our business district. OBID has formed strong relationships with our elected officials and with various government offices at the City, County, State and Federal levels. The OBID acts as a liaison between our members and government offices and we have assisted our owners on a variety of issues from zoning and permits to parking and public safety.
Currently, the OBID is involved with a variety of large scale planning efforts underway that will impact the Oakland business community, including the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s proposed Bus Rapid Transit project and the City of Pittsburgh Oakland Mobility Network.
OBID Member Special Opportunities
Oakland businesses should check out “Pitt Perks.” The University of Pittsburgh provides an employee discount platform that provides a broad range of discounts and the opportunity to purchase certain voluntary benefits at group rates through payroll deduction. The program, known as “PittPerks”, includes many practical discounts. This program was initiated in 2015 and new offerings are being added frequently.
As well as this, Oakland businesses should check out “UPMC Perks.” UPMC Perks are discounts offered to UPMC staff, physicians, and volunteers on merchandise, recreation, and services. More information can be found here.
Urban Redevelopment Authority Facade Improvement Programs
Restored and improved storefronts are essential to the vitality of our local communities. They revitalize the pedestrian environment, attract more customers to your business and encourage neighborhood economic development and investment.
The URA offers several different façade improvement programs designed for commercial building owners and tenants to improve their storefronts.Your building’s location determines which facade improvement program applies to your property. You can only use one program at a time.
Email: [email protected]
The OBID envisions Oakland as one of the nation’s most innovative sustainable communities, and we’re in an ideal position to help make that happen. Working with our membership, our partners and local government, we are proud to be a part of a great team focused on developing and implementing forward-thinking strategies to eliminate waste, increase efficiency and educate the business community.
Sustainable Restaurants Program: GRANTS AVAILABLE
Working in partnership with Sustainable Pittsburgh, the OBID wants to help your restaurant save money, increase business, and gain positive recognition. Oakland was selected by Sustainable Pittsburgh as the focus for participationwith the program. We invite you to become a Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant and help us promote a community of sustainable restaurants that look to stand out as leaders by demonstrating commitment to the future of Oakland and our region. Created with a team of local chefs and restaurateurs, its two-year designation provides a way to cut costs and attract more customers.
Designated Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants will receive the following perks:
• On a first come, first serve basis, the OBID will provide a matching grant up to $1,500 to support businesses with the implementation of sustainable practices. There are also resources, incentives, workshops, guides, organizations, and one-on-one assistance from the Sustainable Pittsburgh and OBID team to help you earn designation
- window clings and menu decals to display the sustainable restaurants’ designation level to guests
- a promo kit to share the great news about your business with the public
- each restaurant is provided an online profile found on an interactive map and listings within the program website: sustainablepghrestaurants.org
- marketing campaign and ads designed to push consumers to dine at designated restaurants
Pittsburgh 2030 District
The Pittsburgh 2030 District, presented by Siemens and sponsored by Covestro, is a collaborative, nationally recognized, local community of high performance buildings in Downtown and Oakland that aim to dramatically reduce energy and water consumption, transportation emissions, and improve indoor air quality while increasing competitiveness in the business environment and owner’s returns on investment. The Pittsburgh 2030 District is a strategic initiative of Green Building Alliance, and currently represents 506 buildings and over 74.3% of the total real estate square footage in Downtown Pittsburgh (including the Northside and Uptown) and Oakland.